November 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / November /



  VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6244   [43:18]


A wonderful, heart-felt score to this modernisation of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ with composer Dana utilising a number of early musical instruments, notably the Hurdy-Gurdy, the Vielle and the Viola Da Gamba.

Opening with Verdi’s ‘Ave Maria’ from ‘Otello’ performed by Renata Scotto, this sets a pensive tone that is sustained by the original compositions that follow. Most significantly, the second track, ‘Hawk’, is a tremendously emotive, affecting piece that really grabs your attention. From here on, the score is very much in this vein, moving from poetic beauty to ominous foreboding with subtle ease. The aforementioned use of the Hurdy-Gurdy in particular gives several tracks a distinctive, poignant feel, such as ‘The Scarf’ and ‘Sleep’ and there are several supporting motifs like those heard in the brief but compelling ‘Confrontation’ and the percussive ‘A Devilish Plan’ that add real dimension to the work.

For me, this is the kind of score that deserves acclaim and attention. Immediately, based on the music alone, I want to see this film. Unless it is poorly served in its mix or editing in the movie itself, you can guarantee there will be some powerful and emotional sequences. And it’s tribute indeed to a composer when his score has that kind of effect on the listener.

Passionate, lyrical, tragic and yet beautiful. Full of heart-break and portent. Highly recommended.

Mark Hockley


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